By Jim Beard
The Secret Invasion began with the horrifying revelation that Black Bolt, beloved leader of the Inhumans, had been replaced by a Skrull. Now, his family demands the truth: does the real king still live?
Writer Joe Pokaski and artist Tom Raney explore that very question and its resounding ramifications in SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS, a four-part limited series kicking off on August 13.
"Black Bolt is a Skrull," explains Pokaski. "This shakes the Inhuman Royal Family to the core. Betrayal, suspicion, and infighting begin to creep into [the Inhumans' city of] Attilan, and then the cool epic comic book story begins.
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"A battle on the Moon takes us to the stars, to an uneasy alliance, and to a few new and familiar planets before dovetailing back to the Secret Invasion event in a big way."
From the first scene, SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS aims to thrill readers with a powerful story yet also expand the larger saga of the invasion itself.
"We start the series with Tony Stark breaking this news to Medusa," Pokaski says. "Needless to say, she doesn't take it well. Then the events of these four issues take off on their own and run parallel to the main Secret Invasion plot, before crashing right back into it."
The question of war and its effects on humans and Inhumans alike echoes through the series and Pokaski takes a deep look at the characters' views on both the current global situation and the heinous abduction of their king
"To be honest, for the family, it is very hard to separate the two," he notes. "It's a personal affront as much as it [is] military espionage. It forces Medusa to cry for war, but we don't know whether she's speaking as queen or wife. Ironically, the only Inhuman able to compartmentalize is Maximus. And that's only to use the situation to his political advantage."
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Speaking of Maximus, insane brother of Black Bolt, begs the question: what have the Inhumans been up to since we've visited them last?
"Things have settled down since [writer] David Hine's SILENT WAR," says Pokaski. "Maximus is King, but he learns crying war and waging war are two very different things. Medusa is back to sharing her bed with Black Bolt, which normally we'd think is a good thing, but..."
Inhumans fans need not fear that all their favorites won't have parts to play in the limited series. Pokaski reassures readers that he's put considerable thought into the famous characters and their roles in SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS.
"I really wanted to turn my focus back on the Royal Family proper and explore some of their character in more depth," he comments. "I went in obsessed with the older/younger sister relationship Crystal and Medusa must have had, with Triton's unique role in the family, Gorgon's new level of animal nature from SILENT WAR, and with Black Bolt as a presence in—and outside—of the family."
At its core, SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS can be seen as the tale of an amazing family of heroes and their suffering when one of their own ends up abducted—and perhaps even murdered.
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"I tried to look at it as a death in any family," says Pokaski. "There is a lot of guilt. And then a lot of blame thrown around. Ironically, the most powerful force of stability in such intense situations thus far has been the steady presence of Black Bolt. And therein lies the central question of the series: Can a family keep it together when the head of the family is taken away? Can they rise to the challenge to find him is he's alive? And what if he is not?"
These pressing questions and many more will be answered in the latest chapter of the far-reaching Secret Invasion drama, SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS, beginning on August 13! And to read up on the Inhumans, hit up Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.